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Showing posts from July, 2014

Welcome to Ouray - Switzerland of America

Ouray (pronounced U-Ray) is a small mountain town in Southwest Colorado that calls itself 'Switzerland of America.' Nestled in a river valley with waterfalls, surrounded by the snow-capped San Juan Mountains and famous for its natural hot springs, it is indeed a beautiful mountain town situated at 8,000 feet. We stopped here while driving along the San Juan Skyway to explore the town a bit and to have lunch. But we least bit expected what was going to happen next. Read on.

It was July 4th and we reached the place around 1:30 PM. We parked the car and started walking along what looked the Main Street of the town. We saw a huge gathering at a distance and asked a passerby as to what is happening. She told us that an annual water hose fight that happens every year on July 4th is about to begin shortly. We were curious and joined the crowd to check it out.
It began by engaging the audience with the water hose and drenching them. As water hit the crowds, they shouted with excitement…

Road trip on San Juan Skyway - Million Dollar Highway

San Juan Skyway loop is one of the most scenic highways in the United States. It covers 236 miles of terrain across southwestern Colorado  traveling through Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, Dolores and Cortez. The stretch between Silverton to Ouray, which is about 25 milles, is also called the 'Million Dollar Highway.' We spent a day driving along this loop on July 4th and what a beautiful day it was!

We were camping at Mesa Verde National Park, so we entered the San Juan Skyway at Mancos and did the loop anti-clockwise. We started in the morning, it was sunny and the stretch from Mancos to Durango was ok. I have been on scenic highways before including the famous Pacific Coast Highway (US Route 101) and I know that weather can make all the difference between a good experience and an extraordinary experience. To me, the perfect weather to enjoy all the greenery, mountains, lakes, streams and wildflowers is to have a cloud filled sky with a slight drizzle and occasional su…

Our Trip to Portland - Seaside & Mount St. Helens

This is Part II of our trip to Portland.  After witnessing the romantic Multnomah waterfalls and the sexy Mount Hood, we went to Seaside on Day 2 and Mount St. Helens National Monument on Day 3. To find about what happened there, read on. You can find Part I here.
Day 2 took us to Seaside, a beach destination 2 hours from Portland. The drive to Seaside was absolutely beautiful with super green and scenic surroundings. It was a rainy day and my only regret was that we didn't stop to do any hikes on the way. The town itself is like any other tourist place filled with shops, restaurants and hotels. The beach is cold and we spent little less than an hour before we headed to one of the restaurants to catch some hot lunch in the rain. 

On our way back, there was a road block for 15-20 minutes and later we realized that it was because of an accident that happened in the tunnel. The scene inside looked pretty bad and I really hope the people survived. Road accidents are probably my worst fe…

Four Corners National Monument

On our way back from Mesa Verde National Park, we came across the Four Corners National Monument.  The Four Corners National Monument is the only place in the United States where you can stand in four different states at the same time i.e. Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. While I thought that is so cool and joined the long queue for a photo opportunity at this unique place, my husband thought it is the silliest thing I ever did and a total waste of $10 we had to pay for this! Well, I agree that waiting in a long queue in hot sun for about 30 minutes just to stand for a minute at this intersection of four states isn't for everybody, I was somehow excited standing there and waiting for my turn to come. And, here it is!

A tip for the ladies: You can have your husbands stand in the line for you while you shop at the several Navajo art & craft booths set up on all four sides with really cute jewellery and other cool stuff :)

Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Camping

Without breaking the tradition of visiting National Parks during the July 4th weekend, we headed to the Mesa Verde National Park this time. We visited Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Yosemite National Park during the last 3 summers in the US. While all those parks are known for their beauty, Mesa Verde is known for its history. Needless to say, it was a different experience, which I surprisingly enjoyed, and want to share with all of you.
Before I get into the historical prominence of the Park, I would like to write about the Morefield campground, where we camped in a tent for 3 nights. It is a huge campground with tent only sites, RV sites and full hookup sites. With the exception of full hookup sites, you just need to reserve a camp site and pick any site of your choice. This meant looking for an empty spot in the middle of the night when it is pitch dark and you can see nothing except as far as your car headlights go. But this also meant, you can move to …